July 20, 2012

A revival of inbound tourism, please enjoy Japan's picturesque summer!

According to statistics released by JNTO in July 2012, for the first time since the Great East Japan Earthquake in March of last year, the number of international visitors to Japan has risen to pre-earthquake levels. For June the number of visitors was actually the highest ever recorded.  Being able to make such a turnaround in only 14 months was only possible due to the warm support given to us by country and regional governments as well as various organizations, companies, media and individual travelers the world over.  For this kind understanding and support I again offer thanks from the bottom of my heart.

At the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) annual Global Summit, held this April, WTTC Chairman Michael Frenzel said, "There is no doubt in our minds that Japan is well and truly open for business." However, for us, it was only after seeing the June numbers that we could be sure that inbound tourism had in fact made a substantial revival and was indeed swiftly progressing towards growth.  There is no greater happiness than this.

In May, the 634m Tokyo Skytree, the tallest free-standing broadcast tower in the world, opened near the Asakusa area of Tokyo and it is attracting long lines of visitors every day. And now, Japan has entered the key stage as summer starts, bringing traditional festivals and firework displays.  Historic sights are abundant in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara while Tohoku and the rest of the country are enthusiastically offering various entertainments for travelers. Also, there are the many mountain and plateau resorts of Mt. Fuji, the Japan Alps and Hokkaido and the world class marine resorts of Okinawa which are continuing to grow.  Every day on the JNTO website and facebook page we are uploading information about these various sightseeing locations and Japan travel products.

We at JNTO are also feverishly working hand in hand with all of our partners in Japan in order to expand inbound tourism even more. Please do not let this picturesque Japan summer pass you by and we ask that you make your Japan travel plans soon! We would like to welcome all visitors from around the world with our customary hospitality.

Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO)

Ryoichi Matsuyama
JNTO President


On the heels of their highly successful "NariTra" translation app, Narita Airport has released "NRT_Airport Navi", the first airport smartphone application in Japan. The new app has a flight search function, airport facility maps, shopping, and other information. Users who register a flight number on the app receive automatic updates of changes to the boarding gate or flight schedule on their departure date. The app is also equipped with an experimental navigation function that displays users' location within the terminal and guides them to their desired destination. NRT_Airport Navi is currently available for both iPhone and Android in English, simplified and traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, and can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

To learn more, visit the Narita International Airport website.


This summer, Japan Airlines launched JAL SKY Wi-Fi service on international flights. The service is offered on alternate days on 777-300ER flights between Tokyo and New York starting July 15th and will be offered daily by early August. It will become available on Chicago, Los Angeles and Jakarta flights by the end of October and Paris and Frankfurt flights by next spring.

The new service is available in every cabin class and provides an onboard Wi-Fi environment with connectivity and data-transfer speeds comparable to ground-level broadband. It allows users to send and receive emails, update and navigate social media networks, and browse the web on their own Wi-Fi enabled devices. JAL is offering their first class and executive class customers a complimentary one-hour trial of JAL SKY Wi-Fi until September 30th.

Visit JAL's website to read the official Press Release.

You can also look forward to in-flight Wi-Fi service from All Nippon Airways, to be launched in the summer of 2013. ANA will make their OnAir Inflight Wi-Fi available on international routes, starting with their B777-300ER and B767-300ER fleets.

Read ANA's official Press Release for details.


Spend the day in Tokyo Station at First Avenue Tokyo Station, a 3-floor commercial and retail space with over 120 stores and restaurants. The complex is divided into themed retail areas:

Tokyo Okashi land – a confectionary-themed area with stores operated by 3 of Japan's top confectionary makers: Ezaki Glico, Morinaga Seika, and Calbee. The stores offer fresh products from their in-store kitchens, regional products from all over Japan, and other exclusive products.

Tokyo Character Street – an area containing approximately 20 stores that offer Japanese character-themed goods. Jump Shop offers merchandise affiliated with popular Shonen Jump magazine characters like One Piece and Dragon Ball. Other stores offer merchandise for Ultraman, Snoopy, and Rilakkuma, as well as for various dramas, movies, and variety shows.

Tokyo Ramen Street – 8 renowned Tokyo ramen shops sell their delicious and innovative dishes in this area: Rokurinsha Tokyo, Hirugao, Kani-senmon, Mutsumiya, Tokyo Station Ikaruga, Ramen Honda, Junk-Garage, and Menya Shichisai.

Gochiso Plaza – an area dedicated to izakaya-style Japanese restaurants where you can enjoy a casual meal and an alcoholic beverage in a relaxing atmosphere.

Omiyage Plaza – a group of 30 stores that offer traditional Tokyo gourmet gifts and popular sweets.

To find out more, visit the First Avenue Tokyo Station website.


The Hoshino Resort chain has unveiled a new global website. The site makes all Hoshino resorts available in one easy-to-use resource. Users can browse through resort descriptions to learn about their unique features and locales. Users can also visit the well-organized FAQ page or directly submit questions into a site search bar to get answers to their inquiries. News updates keep users informed and a simple reservation feature allows them to book their rooms. The site is available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.

To learn more about Hoshino resorts, visit the new Hoshino global website.


Guests of the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima can now enjoy the benefits of the hotel's Welcome Counter, located in Hiroshima station. Guests can check their luggage at the welcome counter and have it delivered to the hotel while they head out for a full day of sightseeing in the city.  The counter is open daily from 8:30am to 6:00 pm at the Hiroshima shinkansen train station – Swallow Travel Hiroshima Branch. Luggage must be checked in by 4:00pm to be eligible for same-day delivery.

Guests can also make use of the complimentary shuttle bus service from the Hiroshima Shinkansen North entrance to the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima.

For details contact the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima.


"Nanatsuboshi" Seven Stars, a cruise train for touring the island of Kyushu, is currently under development by JR Kyushu. The train is named after Kyushu’s 7 prefectures, Kyushu's 7 principal tourist attractions (nature, cuisine, hot springs, history and culture, power spots, friendliness, and train travel), and the 7 cars that will make up each train.

Each train's interior will be made of the finest woods and fabrics, blending traditional and modern styles with a mix of Japanese and Western design. Riders will be able to enjoy live piano performances in the lounge car, which  will have a bar, panoramic windows, sofas, and rotating chairs. Each car will house either 2 deluxe suites or 3 regular suites and each suite will have its own lavatory and shower.

To learn more about the Seven Stars in Kyushu cruise train, visit the JR Kyushu website.


Learn about Japanese mythology and the birthplace of sake and kabuki on Shimane Prefecture's website! This informative site provides information about the roots of kabuki theatre, the rich sake tradition in Shimane, and the famous Izumo Taisha shrine in Izumo City. It also allows you to learn about the Kojiki, the oldest existing record of Japanese history and a collection of Japanese mythology that offers various insights into Japanese history and culture. You can read summaries of the Kokiji's most famous stories, including the legend of Yamata no Orochi, a gigantic serpent with 8 heads and 8 tails. Following each legend is a section that directs you to actual palaces in Shimane Prefecture featured in the story.

To learn more about the connection between Shimane and Japanese mythology, visit the Shimane Prefecture website.


Test yourself!  How well do you know Japanese culture?  In this section, we'll give you a photo and a question to test your knowledge about Japan and its culture.

'Odoruahouni, miruahou. Onajiahounara, odoranya son son!'
"Dancing fools and watching fools. Both are fools, so why not dance?"

What annual dance festival uses these famous lyrics?

Curious?  Visit the Newsletter section of our website for the answer!  You can also view previous editions of the newsletter.


Message from the President of JNTO
Introducing NRT_Airport Navi
Wi-Fi in the Sky
Station Shopping: First Avenue Tokyo Station
Hoshino resort information at your fingertips
The Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima Welcomes You
Cruise Through Kyushu by Train
Shimane: the Home of Japanese Mythology
Culture Corner
JNTO Toronto
What's Happening
About Us
Brochure Request
Your Guide to Japan
Japan Photo Library
Tourism Statistics

Japan National Tourism Organization
481 University Avenue, Suite 306 Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E9
Tel: 416-366-7140
Fax: 416-366-4530
E-mail: info@jntoyyz.com
Website: www.ilovejapan.ca